Emergency Evacuations

When community evacuations become necessary, local officials provide information to the public through the media, sirens, and public address systems. Richland County, along with other relief organizations (i.e. American Red Cross, Salvation Army), provide emergency shelter and supplies. The amount of time you have to evacuate will depend on the disaster. By preparing now, you will have the basic necessities on hand.

Remember to call 911 if you witness an emergency situation or are in need of emergency assistance.

Planning for Evacuation

Talk with your household about the possibility of an evacuation. Plan a place to meet in case of a separation during an emergency. Ask a friend outside your town to be the "check-point" so that everyone in your household can call to say they are safe. Keep your vehicle fuel talk full and our disaster supplies kit ready. Know how to shut off your home's electricity, gas and water at main switches and valves. Have cash, blank checks, and credit cards on hand. Mementos and small objects that can be easily stored should be taken, along with a telephone and address book.

Ordered Evacuation

Listen to a battery-powered radio and follow local instructions. If the danger is a chemical release and you are instructed to evacuate immediately, gather your household and go. Take one car per household when evacuating. Gather water, food, clothing, emergency supplies, and insurance and financial records. Wear sturdy shoes and clothing that provides protection. Let others know where you are going, take your pets, and secure your home. Leave early to avoid traffic jams, following recommended evacuation routes. Disaster situations can be intense, stressful and confusing. Should an evacuation be necessary, local authorities will do their best to notify the public, but do not depend entirely on this.

Often, a disaster can strike with little or no warning, providing local authorities little time to issue an evacuation order. Also, it is possible that you may not hear of an evacuation order due to communications or power failure. Local authorities and weather broadcasters can also make mistakes, including underestimating an emergency or disaster situation. In the absence of evacuation instructions from local authorities, you should evacuate if you feel threatened or endangered. Use predesignated evacuation routes and let others know what you are doing and where you are going.